My top five high­est-gross­ing stock im­ages

Amateur Photographer - - Technique Microstock -

NOW THAT you have iden­ti­fied the best stock agen­cies to tar­get with your im­ages, have a rough idea of how much you’re likely to earn, and have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the tech­ni­cal re­quire­ments, which types of im­ages are likely to con­tinue sell­ing for years to come? It’s a dif­fi­cult ques­tion to an­swer, but once you have a sig­nif­i­cant port­fo­lio spread out at var­i­ous sites you will gen­er­ate most of your in­come from a small per­cent­age of your pic­tures. This is likely to be in line with the Pareto Prin­ci­ple, so you would earn 80% of your rev­enue from 20% of your im­ages. The beauty of the mi­cro­s­tock busi­ness model is that such high- gross­ing im­ages should con­tinue to sell for years to come. The key is to pro­duce im­ages that rank highly for pop­u­lar key­words and sim­ply pro­duce more of these types of shots.

To give you an idea of which types of im­ages are pop­u­lar, here are five of my high­est­gross­ing im­ages at Shutterstock, along with the num­ber of down­loads of each im­age. I’ve given rea­sons as to why they con­tinue to be li­censed reg­u­larly. De­spite the var­ied sub­ject mat­ter, the pic­tures all have a few things in com­mon: they are tech­ni­cally ex­cel­lent (fo­cus, light­ing, com­po­si­tion etc); they were shot in colour (which tends to be more versatile than black & white); each one has a clearly iden­ti­fi­able theme/mes­sage; the level of post-pro­cess­ing is just right; they pro­voke a pow­er­ful emo­tional re­sponse in the viewer; the shots cap­ture an in­spi­ra­tional place/time; and they il­lus­trate ‘trend­ing’ themes with high-rank­ing, pop­u­lar key­words. 1 A pow­er­ful mo­ment in the midst of the refugee cri­sis in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary. A young girl holds up an ‘SOS’ sign while fel­low refugees cre­ate an in­ter­est­ing frame. Even though this edi­to­rial im­age and slight vari­a­tions were cap­tured in 2014, they con­tinue to be li­censed reg­u­larly, as the refugee cri­sis in Europe, un­for­tu­nately, has no end in sight. 2 These beau­ti­ful arches in Rio de Janeiro’s botan­i­cal gar­dens draw you in, with a beau­ti­ful soft, trop­i­cal light. The pic­ture has been li­censed for all sorts of me­dia from post­cards to wed­ding blogs and, of course, blogs about travel to Rio/Brazil. 3 Most im­ages of Rot­ter­dam Cen­traal train sta­tion in the Nether­lands tend to be cap­tured at street level, mak­ing this an­gle more un­usual. In ad­di­tion, the im­age has a fu­tur­is­tic feel. Rot­ter­dam is a hub for im­port/ ex­port busi­ness, with Europe’s largest port, and as a re­sult this im­age fea­tures heav­ily in busi­ness-re­lated web­sites and blogs. 4 This is a hugely versatile com­mer­cial im­age about a pop­u­lar sub­ject (travel), fea­tur­ing in­ter­est­ing light­ing and com­po­si­tion. This type of shot is in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to ob­tain due to tighter se­cu­rity, even with long lenses. In this im­age, I cloned out all of the lo­gos so it could be li­censed com­mer­cially. 5 Back­drop of Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, cap­tured a year be­fore the 2016 Olympics. This im­age has been li­censed reg­u­larly on ads/blogs about Rio and Brazil as well as blogs/ads about cock­tails.

1 582 down­loads

172 down­loads 4

3 162 down­loads

255 down­loads 2

125 down­loads 5

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